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Vintage Audio (record players, hi-fi etc) Amplifiers, speakers, gramophones and other audio equipment.

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Old 5th Nov 2019, 12:00 am   #1
1100 man
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Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Ventnor, Isle of Wight, & Great Dunmow, Essex, UK.
Posts: 1,055
Default Gramophone sound box & record questions

I recently bought a Decca 75 suitcase style gramophone which is built along very similar lines to the HMV 101.

Mechanically it works fine but the sound is rather 'harsh' and distorts on the loud bits. Even with a 'soft tone' needle, it's insanely loud. The sound quality from the HMV 101 was definitely nicer!

I dismantled the sound box to see what was in there and if the rubber had gone hard. This uses what looks like a thin Aluminium diaphragm (I think the HMV used a Mica one?) Both the rubber rings in the picture still seem pliable, but the rubber insulating ring between the mounting ring & sound box body is very hard.

Is there much difference in sound quality between different types & construction of soundboxes? Will the hard rubber between the mounting ring & body have an effect?

Secondly, the question of different types of records. I believe these players are better with earlier acoustically recorded records rather than later electrically recorded ones?

Some of the obviously later records I've tried seem even louder and tend to overload the soundbox.

I presume there is no easy way to tell what era a record comes from as they don't seem to carry production dates. I guess the design of the label itself will give the biggest clues to those that have the experience!

As you can tell, I'm a gramophone 'newbie', but after repairing the HMV 101 last year, I fell under the spell of these fascinating machines and would like to find out more about them.

This machine is dated 1934, so the best part of 86 years old!

Many thanks
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Old 6th Nov 2019, 12:51 am   #2
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Royston, Hertfordshire, UK.
Posts: 123
Default Re: Gramophone sound box & record questions

I would avoid any records that were produced from the late forties onwards, such as Decca FFRRs, which had a very high modulation level and were designed to be played on more modern lighter-weight electric pickups. Older red-label 10" and 12" HMVs and Brunswicks work well on my HMV101.
As you've got the sound box apart, I'd replace the suspension rubbers anyway. It is important to get the pivot screws set correctly so that the fulcrum piece from the needle is perfectly aligned with the centre of the diaphragm.
As you have found out, these gramophones are LOUD! A pair of socks, stuffed progressively into the horn, are a makeshift volume control, as in "put a sock in it"!
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Old 6th Nov 2019, 2:21 pm   #3
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Norfolk, UK.
Posts: 188
Default Re: Gramophone sound box & record questions

like previous post are the sound box rubbers, that russet/ reddish and the white nice and soft and stretchy not hard, if they are there is people online where you can buy the rubber for it or someone on here will have a link to a suppler
astro63 is offline   Reply With Quote

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